Encouraging consumers to purchase plant-based dishes is one way food service outlets can work toward reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. This field experiment, conducted in a UK-based chain of cafés, aimed to identify the most effective language to describe plant-based menu items to encourage consumers to select these options. Compared to original dish names that used language highlighting the lack of meat in a dish (e.g., “Meat-free” or “Vegetarian”), new names that emphasized taste or origin (e.g., “Cumberland-spiced”) or used more appealing words for plant-based options (e.g., “Field-grown” or “Garden”) significantly increased sales of the target vegetarian dishes.

The results from this field experiment provide evidence that it is possible to encourage consumers to select plant-based dishes in a food service setting by simply changing how dishes are described on menus.